Writing exercise 11: What is plot?

[The prompt we were given for the beginning of a story: ‘A woman on a bus today carried her Pekinese dog inside her handbag. It had a red bow on its head that matched her sweater.’ It’s possible I skipped a step – having just looked at the next exercise…Oops.]

Ever since I can remember, Miss Daisy took the number 7 bus from the stop outside the Bakewell house. Her chestnut brown hair had begun to fade into greyish white, yet she refused to surrender to the graceless inelegance expected of her age. On the contrary, her stylish attire often highlighted her vibrant personality and bright smile. Every day without fail, at 7.34 a.m. precisely, she pottered past the house, her Pekinese dog Gigi in tow. I tipped my dusty black cap to her and bowed my head slightly in greeting, a gesture she always responded to with a girlish giggle.

On this particular day, the canine’s head was crowned with a tiny scarlet bow – the same colour as its owner’s cardigan. Red was a bold choice of colour for such an old and seemingly frail creature, but it suited her and her purposeful stride. Meanwhile, the dog had been combed meticulously and currently resided in her black handbag, unintelligent eyes surveying the surroundings curiously. I never liked that dog, although it seemed to display a peculiar affection for me.

I leaned against the low wall, glancing back at the house cautiously. It wouldn’t do to be caught lazing around but she’d always shown me nothing but kindness, despite my low station in life. It was just a chat. What evil could come of that?

“Special occasion, Miss Daisy?” I asked.

“Oh yes, my dear boy!” Of course, to her I was still a ‘boy’, despite my thirty two summers. “Must dash! Gigi and I are to welcome my sister at the station!”

In all the years I’d known her – or rather, known of her – I had no idea she had a sister.

 

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